Since it formally created an Acquisition Corps,
the Army has continually strived to improve the process of
developing, procuring, and sustaining its weapon systems. Because
sustainment costs account for the largest portion of total
life cycle costs for weapons, they remain one of the focus
areas for acquisition reform. Army policy designates program
managers (PMs) as responsible and accountable for all life
cycle phases, including sustainment. However, holding PMs accountable
for sustainment continues to be particularly challenging because
planning, programming, budgeting, and execution of sustainment
funding largely reside in the Army Materiel Command (AMC),
not with PMs.
In an effort to improve total life cycle management, the Army
has undertaken an initiative to bring the
acquisition, logistics, and technology communities closer together.
A memorandum of agreement, signed on 2 August 2004, between
the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics,
and Technology, The Honorable Claude M. Bolton, Jr., and the
Commanding General of AMC at that time, General Paul J. Kern,
formally launched a plan for the two organizations to work
together to establish life cycle management commands (LCMCs).
The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Peter J. Schoomaker,
approved the initiative on 16 August.
The LCMC initiative is designed to help achieve the Army’s
overarching goal of transforming into a more lethal and agile
force that requires a significantly smaller logistics footprint
to sustain itself. Logisticians in the field need to know about
the LCMC initiative because it will integrate sustainment concerns
with the development
and acquisition of materiel. The result of the LCMC initiative
will be a seamless materiel continuum from factory to foxhole,
with a leaner but more effective and responsive logistics system.
The dividing line between acquisition and sustainment is ending,
and logisticians will become part of an Army that manages materiel
and support from an integrated life cycle perspective.
In October 2001, the Army initiated an action to move all project
and product managers and their associated acquisition programs
out of materiel development
commands and into existing, restructured or newly created PEO
organizations. This action abolished the Deputies for System
Acquisition in three AMC major subordinate commands (the Army
Aviation and Missile Command, Army Tank-automotive and Armaments
Command, and Army Communications-Electronics Command) and realigned
their functions to the PEOs.
This restructuring created a single, streamlined chain of command
for acquisition functions. It also made PMs fully responsible
for life cycle management of their assigned programs. However,
the realignment did not transfer the funding, personnel, or
other resources needed to carry out sustainment functions.
AMC furthered the Army initiative in October 2002 by creating
the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM).
This command consolidated the research, development, and engineering
elements of all AMC major subordinate commands into one organization.
The consolidation of the separate elements under one command
structure fosters synergy among them and provides better support
to the Army’s PEOs. RDECOM is now the center of gravity
for integrating, maturing, and demonstrating all emerging technologies
for Army acquisition programs, which significantly decreases
the time it takes to get these critical capabilities from the
laboratory to the soldier. The RDECOM commander has the centralized
control to “weight the main effort” for technology
development to assist the PEOs in getting the right capabilities
to the field at the right time.
Establishing Life Cycle Management
The realignment of the PMs and creation of RDECOM established
direct command and support relationships for developing and
integrating technologies for Army acquisition
programs. However, these changes continued to foster a separation
of sustainment from other acquisition functions. In effect,
the changes created three “stovepiped” communities—technology
development, acquisition, and sustainment—and did not
provide the sustainment community with a direct link to the
technology development or acquisition communities. Decisions
made early in a system’s life cycle disproportionately
emphasize the acquisition of materiel capabilities, resulting
in insufficient focus on operations, training, and support.
Inadequate sustainment of fielded systems undermines the readiness
and warfighting capability of the Army. The restructuring also
did not provide the formal, high-level organizational relationships
necessary to fully optimize the acquisition and sustainment
The Army’s key leaders for the acquisition, logistics,
and technology communities (Assistant Secretary Bolton, General
Kern, and Lieutenant General Joseph L. Yakovac, the Military
Deputy to Secretary Bolton) recognized the need to bring these
efforts together in an environment that fosters stronger unity
of command and unity of effort. This effort begins at the top
dual-hat” empowering of general officers and Senior Executive
Service civilians to integrate the separate technology development,
acquisition, and sustainment efforts. Upon Senate confirmation,
General Yakovac, already serving as the Military Deputy to
the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics,
and Technology, also will become the AMC Deputy Commanding
General for Acquisition and Technology. AMC’s current
Deputy Commanding General, Lieutenant General Richard A. Hack,
will become the Deputy Commanding General for Operations and
Readiness. These changes
emphasize the leadership’s commitment to making this
effort a complete success.
The memorandum of agreement is the first phase in this process.
In broad terms, the communities agree that the Army must put
together the best and most talented teams they can to support
the soldiers serving the Nation around the globe. By adopting
a one Army-one team mentality, the Army is taking a holistic
approach to managing systems and is capitalizing on the wealth
of knowledge from all the communities to find the right solutions
for the tough acquisition and sustainment issues that impact
The initiative also promotes true life cycle management for
products and systems, which means that the entire community
looks at how to shorten the acquisition process in order to
rapidly type-classify and field equipment to soldiers. Perhaps
most importantly, the initiative forces consideration of operating
and support costs, which typically can be 80 percent of life
cycle costs, up front and early in the acquisition process
as a part of the “Cost as an Independent Variable” objectives
found in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook.
Although the details of how each organization will look are
being worked out, the agreement realigns the Aviation and Missile
Electronics Command, Joint Munitions Command, and Tank-automotive
and Armaments Command with the PEOs with whom they now work
and creates four LCMCs: Aviation/Missile, Soldier/Ground Systems,
Communications/Electronics, and Joint Munitions. The PEOs for
Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation; Air, Space, and
Missile Defense; and Enterprise Information Systems and the
Joint PEO for Chemical and Biological Defense are not affected
initially. RDECOM retains its technology mission
and remains strategically and operationally linked to the new
commands. While the reporting chain for PMs and PEOs remains
unchanged for acquisition decisions relating to the authority
of the Army Acquisition Executive (Secretary Bolton), the LCMC
commander is the focal point and primary agent for actions
across the entire life cycle of the systems assigned to that
LCMC. In some cases, LCMC commanders may be dual hatted as
Under the initiative, each new LCMC will develop specific implementation
plans outlining support relationships, processes, and internal
reporting chains by February. While each LCMC will have some
common organizational characteristics, guiding principles,
and terms of reference, the Army’s logistics leaders
are giving the LCMCs maximum flexibility to organize for efficient
and effective support of the soldiers in the field who use
their products. A Board of Directors, consisting of the Military
Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition,
Logistics, and Technology/AMC Deputy Commanding General for
Acquisition and Technology, the AMC Deputy Commanding General
for Operations and Readiness, and the AMC G–3, will provide
reports on implementation progress to the Army Acquisition
Executive and the AMC Commanding General on a regular basis.
The end state of the LCMC initiative will provide the Army
with the ability to reduce the acquisition cycle time, make
good products even better, minimize life cycle costs, and enhance
the synergy and effectiveness of the Army’s acquisition,
logistics, and technology communities. ALOG
Lieutenant Colonel James O. Winbush, Jr., is
Special Assistant to the Commanding General of the Army Materiel
Command. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering from Old
Dominion University. He is level II certified in program management
and is a member of the Army Acquisition Corps.
Christopher S. Rinaldi is the Chief of the Life Cycle Management
Division, Army Materiel Command G–3. He has a B.S. degree
in mechanical engineering from Manhattan College and an M.S.
degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute and is a registered Professional Engineer. He is
a member of the Army Acquisition Corps and is level III certified
in systems planning, research, development, and engineering.
Antonia R. Giardina is a systems analyst in the Life Cycle
Management Division, Army Materiel Command G–3. She has
a B.A. degree in environmental biology from Colgate University.